830,000 Michiganders Could Be At Risk Losing Unemployment Benefits

More than 800,000 Michiganders could be at risk of losing unemployment benefits if the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision goes into effect immediately.

On Friday, the court ruled that Gov. Whitmer’s powers were unconstitutional, striking down months of executive orders.

This includes those regarding unemployment insurance during the pandemic.

“There’s so many barriers for families right now to go back out and find employment,” says Shelly Keene, executive director for Michigan Works! West Central.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) says there are around 830,000 people in Michigan actively unemployed.

In a statement, the UIA told 9&10 News that Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders were essential to expand and extend eligibility for unemployment benefits.

The UIA is currently working with the attorney general’s office to better understand all of the ramifications from this decision.

Keene says, “There’s so much uncertainty, they may have children at home that may be doing virtual schooling that is a barrier, or they may have kids in school but tomorrow their school could go virtual.”

But for those ready to get back into the workforce, West Central Michigan Works! says there are lots of jobs available and they’re here to help.

“Our employers are borderline desperate for employees,” says Keene. “I would encourage anyone that’s interested in, even changing their profession, upscale or earn a credential to reach out to Michigan Works!”

Gov. Whitmer is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to clarify when the ruling goes into effect.

For now, any expansion of unemployment benefits has to come from the Legislature.